“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
-Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
“I believe I possess the happy knack…of adapting myself to every kind of society, whether high or low. …And though it is a gift of nature, constant study has enabled me, I flatter myself, to make a kind of art of it.”
-Mr. Collins, from A&E’s Pride & Prejudice
Does anyone else think that Paul and Mr. Collins sound an awful lot alike? 😉
This Scripture quote has been popping up in my mind a lot lately, mostly because I don’t have that sense of contentment in all circumstances. In fact, I pretty much never feel it. I’m always looking for something more, or different, than what I have. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the gifts…I just keep looking for more.
As many of you will remember, I set everything aside in November to attempt to write a novel. It didn’t go well. I have the whole world and story laid out in my head—even outlined on paper, really—but getting to the next step is excruciatingly difficult. I can’t come up with the first sentence, and even though I know I just need to write something, that I can fix it later, my brain is seized up. I just know it’s not good enough.
In part, this is because of a continued, demoralizing failure to place the last novel…and more, because I have this growing, horrible feeling that my stories are too old-fashioned for THE MARKET…a market (or at least, an industry) full of suave, modern women who want their stories to be “edgy” and “sexy” and reflective of modern culture, which views sex as casual and my world view as repressive.
And so, I’ve spent the last month and a half chasing down nonfiction writing projects, trying to avoid having to get back to work on this novel. I keep praying for inspiration to start, but nothing is ever good enough. I second-guess.
Definitely not content.
And yet I began 2011 with a wildly successful (if not terribly productive) writing week. I have half a dozen projects lined up, clamoring for attention, and at least half of them already have a publishing home. And I woke up this morning at quarter of 5 from an incredibly detailed, incredibly vivid dream that, although it had some of the usual nonsensical jumps that dreams always do, nonetheless contained an entire plot for another beautiful love story. I woke up all fired up, thinking I could outline this new sucker and abandon the behemoth in process.
I have much to be grateful for, and I know it; I breathe my heavenward thanks every time they impress themselves upon my brain. I just wish that, like Paul, I could learn the art of being satisfied with it. Because I have this horrible feeling that I’m more like Mr. Collins: pretending to be comfortable wherever I am, while in reality, all I want is more than I have a right to ask.
I appreciate your post, and I think I can really identify with you…. being content is something we all work on constantly, isn’t it?
I am your newest follower, and look forward to reading more!
Honesty is always refreshing, isn’t it? Sometimes it smarts a little, the truth that is… but always refreshing. A breath of clean, crisp air & a fresh starting place 🙂
As i read your post i heard an echo. When you can take a minute i think you might enjoy a quick stop to this post i read Friday (the echo :):
His continued blessings gratitude friend :}
Thank you. That’s a beautiful post. I will refill by scrapbooking. Whenever I look through the pictures to print, I can’t believe how much beauty fills our life.
You quoted Mr. Collins on my behalf, didn’t you? 😉
Nah, I flatter myself… but it’s easy to imagine Jane Austen using Scripture to fashion the character of a minister, although with a humorous twist, as he was a silly man. 😉
Creative individuals are always seen as being touched by angels and demons, blessed with divine inspiration and then tortured while trying to make physical expressions of it.
It’s a position many of us know excruciatingly well… I was inspired just last night to paint a new piece, yet I have 3 unfinished paintings lying around …and one of them is commissioned, and NEEDS to be done soon.
Guess which one motivates me the least? I keep saying, “If I don’t start this new piece now, I’ll lose the image forever…”
But if was truly meant to be yours, it will wait on the backburner until you are ready. Sketch it, write an outline, capture the essence of it… but don’t feel pressured to do it all right now.
The most meaningful pieces are ones that will still speak to you three months down the road, when you pick up that rough outline and say:
“Yes, this is it! What a great concept!”
Finishing projects in an organized, timely manner is easier said than done (for me, anyway)… but it will save you from guilt and stress. 🙂
🙂 I don’t talk P&P much here, but I’m a crazy Jane Austen fan. Which is probably why I find your artwork so intriguing. 😉
LOL Thank you! Intriguing indeed… even my cats can’t quite make whiskers or tails of me.
But your fear that old-fashioned love stories might not be marketable seems unwarranted. There are large pockets of people currently feeling ignored by popular media, who would delight in reading a story with real value.
And even those suave, sexy, and powerful women probably dream about Mr. Darcy… 😉
That’s why Jane Austen and her peers, as well as BBC and Masterpiece Classics on TV, have become a guilty pleasure for so many people. The fantasy even appears in modern chick films like “Brigit Jones’ Diary”…
It’s something about rural 19th century life that intriques and seduces us, even though the moral ideals of their society would be publically scoffed at today.
(The key word being publically… folks are just scared to admit that our society has traded its virtue for “freedom”)
Even things like Bridget Jones take that modern sensibility of “romance=sex.” If you can point me to books being published now that don’t equate those two as a 1-1 ratio, I would simply LOVE to be informed!
Kathleen, there’s a market for your freshness and reality, precisely because there’s so much garbage passing for life. I love to read how you read the things and people around you. I’m praying for your juices.